Bones of Betrayal (Body Farm Series #4)

( 136 )

Overview

The first three Body Farm novels—Carved in Bone, Flesh and Bone, and The Devil's Bones—took readers deep into the backwoods of East Tennessee, where fascinating forensic science mixed with extraordinary characters, including the Farm's charismatic founder. Now, in the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series Kathy Reichs calls "the real deal," truth, lies, war, and history intertwine in a story that reaches new heights of ...

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Bones of Betrayal (Body Farm Series #4)

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Overview

The first three Body Farm novels—Carved in Bone, Flesh and Bone, and The Devil's Bones—took readers deep into the backwoods of East Tennessee, where fascinating forensic science mixed with extraordinary characters, including the Farm's charismatic founder. Now, in the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series Kathy Reichs calls "the real deal," truth, lies, war, and history intertwine in a story that reaches new heights of suspense. This is Jefferson Bass's most ambitious and enthralling book yet.

Bones of Betrayal

Dr. Bill Brockton is in the middle of a nuclear-terrorism disaster drill when he receives an urgent call from the nearby town of Oak Ridge—better known as Atomic City, home of the Bomb, and the key site for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Although more than sixty years have passed, could repercussions from that dangerous time still be felt today?

With his graduate assistant Miranda Lovelady, Brockton hastens to the death scene, where they find a body frozen facedown in a swimming pool behind a historic, crumbling hotel. The forensic detectives identify the victim as Dr. Leonard Novak, a renowned physicist and designer of a plutonium reactor integral to the Manhattan Project. They also discover that he didn't drown: he died from a searing dose of radioactivity.

As that same peril threatens the medical examiner and even Miranda, Brockton enlists the help of a beautiful, enigmatic librarian to peel back the layers of Novak's life to the secret at its core. The physicist's house and personal life yield few clues beyond a faded roll of undeveloped film, but everything changes when Brockton chances upon Novak's ninety-year-old ex-wife, Beatrice. Charming and utterly unreliable, she takes him on a trip back into Oak Ridge's wartime past, deep into the shadows of the nuclear race where things were not quite as they seemed.

As Beatrice drifts between lucidity and dementia, Brockton wonders if her stories are fact or fancy, history or myth. But he knows one thing—that she holds the key to a mystery that is becoming increasingly labyrinthine. For as the radiation count steadily rises, and the race to find the truth intensifies, the old woman's tales hint at something far darker and more complex than the forensic anthropologist himself could have ever imagined.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
“This series...just keeps getting better. [Bones of Betrayal] features both the most compelling story and the best portrayal yet of Brockton, who has completed the transition from fictional representation of coauthor Bass to fully realized protagonist.”
Wilmington Star News
“Bones of Betrayal has more than its share of twists, turns, and red herrings....Wartime Oak Ridge proves nearly as atmospheric a crime scene as Sam Spade’s San Francisco or Philip Marlowe’s L.A.”
Washington Post
“The forensic thriller meets a formidable slice of history in Jefferson Bass’s impressive new novel....In addition to being a riveting mystery with an intricately emotional conclusion, Bones of Betrayal bears witness to the past with great respect for the long shadow it casts.”
Art Taylor
The forensic thriller meets a formidable slice of history in Jefferson Bass's impressive new novel…In addition to being a riveting mystery with an intricately emotional conclusion, Bones of Betrayal bears witness to the past with great respect for the long shadow it casts.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

In bestseller Bass's average fourth forensic thriller to feature Dr. Bill Brockton (afterA The Devil's Bones), a frozen corpse found in a lake near the Oak Ridge, Tenn., nuclear research facility turns out to be that of Dr. Leonard Novak, one of the leaders of the Manhattan Project, the secret government program to build the first atomic bomb during WWII. When the source of death, potent radioactive material the old man somehow ingested, poisons the local medical examiner, Brockton's inquiry takes on added urgency. After meeting Novak's ex-wife at his funeral, Brockton wonders if there might be a link between the present-day murder and long-forgotten events; with the aid of an attractive local librarian, he starts to dig into Oak Ridge's past. Given the small pool of suspects, many readers will guess the killer's identity before it's revealed. Those looking for a more evocative portrait of the paranoid atmosphere surrounding the Manhattan Project should seek out Joseph Kanon's Los Alamos. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Booklist
“This series...just keeps getting better. [Bones of Betrayal] features both the most compelling story and the best portrayal yet of Brockton, who has completed the transition from fictional representation of coauthor Bass to fully realized protagonist.”
Wilmington Star News
“Bones of Betrayal has more than its share of twists, turns, and red herrings....Wartime Oak Ridge proves nearly as atmospheric a crime scene as Sam Spade’s San Francisco or Philip Marlowe’s L.A.”
Washington Post
“The forensic thriller meets a formidable slice of history in Jefferson Bass’s impressive new novel....In addition to being a riveting mystery with an intricately emotional conclusion, Bones of Betrayal bears witness to the past with great respect for the long shadow it casts.”
Wilmington Star News (NC)
"Bones of Betrayal has more than its share of twists, turns, and red herrings....Wartime Oak Ridge proves nearly as atmospheric a crime scene as Sam Spade’s San Francisco or Philip Marlowe’s L.A."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061284755
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/29/2009
  • Series: Body Farm Series , #4
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 820,751
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Jefferson Bass is the writing team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass. Dr. Bass, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, is the creator of the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility, widely known as the Body Farm. He is the author or coauthor of more than two hundred scientific publications, as well as a critically acclaimed memoir about his career at the Body Farm, Death's Acre. Dr. Bass is also a dedicated teacher, honored as U.S. Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Jon Jefferson is a veteran journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. His writings have been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Popular Science and broadcast on National Public Radio. The coauthor of Death's Acre, he is also the writer and producer of two highly rated National Geographic documentaries about the Body Farm.

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Read an Excerpt

Bones of Betrayal

Chapter One

The colorful tents crowding the clearing where I stood wouldn't have looked out of place at a carnival or Renaissance fair. It would be an interesting irony: a Renaissance fair...a "rebirth" fair...here at the University of Tennessee's Body Farm, the one place in the world that revolves around the study of the dead and how they decay.

The tents...white, red, green, yellow, blue...jostled for space at the Anthropology Research Facility. Decades earlier, an FBI agent had dubbed the UT facility "the Body Farm" after seeing the corpses scattered throughout the three wooded acres. The nickname had stuck, and now it was even inspiring a spin-off nickname: a former UT graduate student was now setting up a similar research facility in San Marcos, Texas. Even before her first research cadaver hit the ground, the Texas facility was being called "the Body Ranch."

Several of the tents huddled together were supported by inflatable frames, the rest by spidery arcs of geometric tubing...Quonset huts, twenty-first-century style. Normally there were no tents here; normally the brightest splash of color, apart from the grass and the leaves on the trees, was a large blue tarp draped over our corrugated-metal equipment shed and its small, fenced-in concrete pad. The tents...whose festive colors belied the barren winter landscape and bitter cold of the day...had been erected just twenty-four hours earlier, and twenty-four hours from now they would be gone again. Despite the carnival look, the tents were a stage for the acting out of a nightmare scenario, one of the darkest events imaginable: an act of nuclear terrorism.

Anude male body lay faceup on a gurney within the largest of the tents, his puckered skin gone gray and moldy from three weeks in the cooler at the morgue at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, visible just above the Body Farm's wooden fence and barren treeline. Fourteen other bodies...selected and stored over the preceding month...were locked in a semi-tractor-trailer parked just outside the fence. The fifteen bodies were stand-ins for what could be hundreds or thousands or even...God forbid...tens of thousands of victims if nuclear terrorists managed to inflict wholesale death in a U.S. city somewhere, someday.

Five people surrounded the gurney. Their faces and even their genders were masked by goggles, respirators, and baggy biohazard suits whose white Tyvek sleeves and legs were sealed with duct tape to black rubber gloves and boots. One of the white-garbed figures held a boxy beige instrument in one hand, and in the other, a metal wand that was connected to the box. As the wand swept a few inches above the head, then the chest and abdomen, and then each arm, the box emitted occasional clicks. As the wand neared the left knee, though, the clicks became rapid, then merged into a continuous buzz. Having spent my childhood shivering through the Cold War...practicing "duck and cover" during civil defense drills, as if my wooden school desk could shield me from a Soviet hydrogen bomb...I was well acquainted with the urgent clicking of a Geiger counter.

As the wand hovered, the other four people leaned in to inspect the knee. One took photographs; two others began spraying the body with a soapy-looking liquid and scrubbing the skin, paying particular attention to the knee. As they scrubbed, one of them removed a small orange disk, about the size of a quarter, and handed it to the team leader. A tiny, safely encapsulated speck of radioactive strontium...enough to trigger the Geiger counter, but not enough to pose any hazard...simulated contamination on the corpse. Once the scrubbing was complete, the technician with the Geiger counter checked the knee once more. This time the instrument ticked lazily, signaling normal background radiation. At a sign from the team leader, the body was wheeled out of the tent and returned to the trailer that held the other fourteen corpses, which had already undergone similar screening and decontamination procedures.

One by one, the Tyvek-suited figures rinsed off beneath what had to be the world's coldest shower: a spray of soapy water mixed with alcohol, a last-minute addition necessitated by the day's subfreezing temperatures. The team's contamination, like that of the bodies, was simulated, but the goal was to make the training as realistic as possible, despite the added challenges provided by the bitter cold. Only after the shower did the goggles and respirators come off. My red-tressed, freckled graduate assistant, Miranda Lovelady, emerged from one of the white suits, followed shortly by Art Bohanan, the resident fingerprint expert at the Knoxville Police Department. The team leader was Hank Strickland, a health physicist, one who specialized in radiation and radiation safety. Hank worked at a facility in Oak Ridge called REAC/TS...the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center and Training Site...that sent medical response teams to help treat victims of radiation accidents anywhere in the world.But Hank, like Miranda and Art, was here today as a volunteer team member of DMORT, the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team. Formed in the early 1990s to identify victims of mass disasters such as airliner crashes and hurricanes, DMORT was part of the U.S. Public Health Service, but the teams were staffed by volunteers with specialized, and even macabre, skills: their ranks included funeral directors, morticians, forensic dentists, physicians, forensic anthropologists, police officers, and firefighters...people accustomed to working with bodies and bones. DMORT volunteers, including some of my students, had performed heroic service at Ground Zero after the World Trade Center bombings. They'd also spent two months recovering and identifying bodies after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.Art himself had spent six weeks in Louisiana after Katrina, lifting fingerprints and palm prints from bloated, rotting corpses. One body was that of a man who'd been trapped in an attic by rising waters. More than a hundred days after the man drowned in the attic...how ironic was that?...Art and a colleague managed to lift a print and ID the man.

Bones of Betrayal. Copyright © by Jefferson Bass. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 136 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(69)

4 Star

(47)

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(17)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 137 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    I read all four of the books in the series and I enjoyed them all. They were very well written and did not want to stop reading them once I started. I loved the relationship between Dr Brockton and his graduate student Miranda Lovelady, as teacher & student, father & daughter and something a little crush. These books cover all of your emotion; there is love and loss, happiness and sorrow, and the fear of the unknown. There is never a dull moment in this series you will not regret getting all four books. The books left me want more; I wish there had been more books in the series.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2011

    Great story, but tough to read

    Jefferson Bass is a good storyteller, and his choice of historical context and characters make this a compelling read. I would recommend "Bones of Betrayal" to anyone who enjoys thought-provoking detective tales. However, Harper-Collins' production of this e-book is horrendous: Punctuation is limited to commas and periods while the apostrophes, quotation marks, hyphens and other markings printed in the hard-copy edition are absent, making this e-book very difficult to navigate. My advice: Readers, buy the print version of this Body Farm novel, and Mr. Bass, get a new e-publisher!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2009

    Classic Jefferson Bass

    While I feel this is classic Jefferson Bass I think they went above and beyond with the historical material. Although I am not a history buff the historical angle left me involved and interested in the story line. I was oh so greatful that the romantic side of this series has been kept minimal. If you have read any of Jefferson Bass you will definately love this story and really sympathize with each and every character new and old.

    In my opinion this is probably their best so far. Although I am always intrigued by the plot lines I felt more involved and fascinated by where the story took me. Just when you think you know 'whodunit' another surprise pops up where you would never expect it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2012

    Although not my favorite of JeffersonBass, still a very good rea

    Although not my favorite of JeffersonBass, still a very good read... a lot of emotional dilemas as well as mysteries to solve... and possible a romance as well... I recommend this to everyone - especially those who enjoy mixing mysteries with real life issues and real history as well. I learned some interesting facts about atomic bombs and Tennessee's part in it...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The best of the series yet

    I have enjoyed all the body farm books, but this one has been the best yet. The plot, occasional humor, technical references make this book interesting and a good read. I really like the main character and his assistant. I recommend this to all who enjoy a good mystery.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    Highly recommend!

    I'm hooked on this author and this series. Read them in order to make the most sense!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    Wonderful

    The story is seamlessly wrapped around one of 20th century US history's important events.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Characters are getting deeper, and an investigative team is bond

    Characters are getting deeper, and an investigative team is bonding.  Still not "there", but the series continues to draw me further.  :)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Good read.

    I didn't like this one as well as the others. The author did a good job relating some of the history of the "bomb". Personaaly I found it somewhat depressing.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    Great series!

    Jefferson Bass books are the best!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2013

    Excellent book.

    Excellent book. Every book I've read of theirs has been great. I really like that it's fiction but with a nice helping of true history & science.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Juuj

    Rjt

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Love this series.

    True old-fashioned mystery (without the extraneous sex and violence). I intend to read this whole series and hope there will be many more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2012

    Perhaps their magnum opus. All of the Jefferson Bass books are w

    Perhaps their magnum opus. All of the Jefferson Bass books are worth reading, but this is by far the best!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    Great

    Thought this was a good book. Enjoyed it very much.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 22, 2010

    Amazing!!!

    This book drew me in a page one. It is truly perplex and riviting. A mystery that will keep you guessing. You will never want to put it down!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Macabre Trip Down Memory Lane

    I always enjoy Jefferson Bass's books because of his plots and dialogue, but expecially for his setting. I grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Bass's sleuth, forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton lives and works, so I know the territory. I don't get back very often. Brockton helps me keep track of the old home town. In this book, Brockton has to figure out the who, the what and the how of the murder a prominent physicist whose body ends up in a swimming pool--as well as the why.(And in this case, he shows readers that being a medical examiner can really be hazardous to health.) The murder leads Brockton from the present to the past. The cause of death and the life's work of the dead physicist give Brockton an unusual view of the role and history of Oak Ridge, TN, where the fissionable materials were synthesized for the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. His characters offer an authentic-sounding look at the early, secretive history of Oak Ridge. In all his Body Farm Series books, he drops in real people as bit players. In this one, I recognized one of them from college, which was sort of cool. Even if you don't give a hoot about East Tennessee and you don't know anybody who went to UT-K, the book is a good read for a rainy day or a day at the beach.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2009

    A body was found in a pool in Tennessee. It was not death by drowning, as one would expect. The man died from radiation poisoning. The victim was the Dr. Novak, the designer of a reactor used to create atomic bombs in 1945. Brockton and his assis

    A body was found in a pool in Tennessee. It was not death by drowning, as one would expect. The man died from radiation poisoning. The victim was the Dr. Novak, the designer of a reactor used to create atomic bombs in 1945. Brockton and his assistant Miranda locate a witness. Beatrice is in her 90s. They are not sure if the information she gives them is true or just the dreams of a woman in midst of dementia. Brockton and Miranda sift through information about the Manhattan Project to find the answers to their questions.
    Dr. Bill Bass founded the Body Farm, a place where forensic detectives learn all there is to know about dead bodies.
    This is my kind of mystery. Patricia Cornwell mentions the Body Farm several times in her Kate Scarpetta novels. In Bones of Betrayal Bill Brockton and his assistant Miranda are investigating a death at the request of Tennessee police. Bill Brockton is a fictional character based on the author Bill Bass. As this series has developed, so has the character of Brockton. He is becoming three-dimensional. The plot is original. It will keep the reader eagerly turning pages. Don't miss Bones of Betrayal.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The best yet!

    These keep getting better! Don't plan on doing much after you start reading this. It's truly impossible to put down.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Jefferson Bass Books are exceptional.

    I read the first Jefferson Bass book and have not stopped. I love the main character. He is brilliant and very likable and believable. Each book has been an awesome read and they just keep getting better. Bones of Betrayal does not dissappoint. I recommned starting with 1# of the series and work your way to Bones of Betrayal. Great reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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